x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bang for your buck: If elected, Romney would be among the richest US presidents

WASHINGTON // Just how rich is Mitt Romney, the leading Republican presidential candidate? Add up the wealth of the last eight US presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you are in Romney territory.

He would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected - probably in the top four.

He could not top George Washington who, with nearly 24,000 hectares, is considered the big daddy of presidential wealth. After that, it gets complicated, depending on how you rate Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Herbert Hoover's millions from mining or John F Kennedy's share of the vast family fortune, as well as the finer points of factors like inflation adjustment.

But it is safe to say the Roosevelts had nothing on Mr Romney, and the Bushes are nowhere close.

The former Massachusetts governor has disclosed only the broad outlines of his wealth, putting it somewhere from US$190 million (Dh697m) to $250 million (Dh918m). That easily could make him 50 times richer than Mr Obama, the US president, who falls in the still-impressive-to-most-of-us range of $2.2 million to $7.5 million.

"I think it's almost hard to conceptualise what $250 million means," said Shamus Khan, a Columbia University sociologist who studies the wealthy. "People say Romney made $50,000 a day while not working last year. What do you do with all that money? I can't even imagine spending it. Well, maybe ..."

Of course, an unbelievable boatload of bucks is just one way to think of Romney's net worth, and the 44 US presidents make up a pretty small pond for him to swim in. Put alongside America's 400 or so billionaires, Mr Romney wouldn't make a ripple.